Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A DAY IN THE LIFE (of Chicago): Maybe Thompson Center here to stay

Gov. Bruce Rauner made a big stink about wanting to unload the Thompson Center state government building in downtown Chicago, although it seems the deal is less of an inevitability than he’d like us to think.

Will it last to 50? Photo provided by State of Illinois
Because within a day of his announcement, Crain’s Chicago Business reported about the deal the state worked out a year ago with a company that handles the first two floors of the building – the ones with all those little stores.

IT SEEMS THAT deal has another 19 years to go, and buying those retail outlets out of their deal with the state would wind up being so excessively expensive. They alone may be reason to believe the building will make it to the half-century mark come the year 2035.

Now, the Capitol Fax newsletter reports that the General Assembly’s leaders – who would have to sign off on any deal to sell the structure – are rather noncommittal.

The legislative leaders say they’ll study it, in a tone that implies they want the questioner to go away and quit bringing up the issue. Not that such an attitude is a surprise; considering that the relations between Rauner and Democrats is so poor these days it wouldn’t surprise me if Dems rejected a sale just to spite him.

All of this goes counter to the notion that Rauner tried to imply when he made his announcement – that the deal was just a formality and we could see the demolition of the Thompson Center some time during 2016.


It seems like our governor still carries about the notion that government exists to follow his orders. Rather than realizing his executive branch is merely one-third of government, with the Legislature being another branch and the courts existing to rectify things when the Executive and Legislative manage to screw things up.

It won’t shock me if I’m still alive when the day comes that the Thompson Center does disappear – the city is constantly evolving. But perhaps by the time it does, the Rauner administration will be a long-forgotten memory of a time when things didn’t get done.

What else is notable these days on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan?

DO CUBS REALLY WANT TO BE ‘ROCKY?’: The Chicago Cubs lost the first two games in the round of playoffs against the New York Mets, but there are those who are convinced that the Tuesday, Wednesday and maybe Thursday games will change things drastically.

Will they wind up getting it right?
They’re expecting a return to Wrigley Field will result in victories for the Cubs. It goes so far that Cubs manager Joe Maddon had the theme from the film “Rocky” played following Sunday’s loss. Let’s not forget that Rocky Balboa lost the fight in the first film, but went on to win so many times in all those sequels.

Then again, the whole “Rocky” franchise became such a tacky joke by the end, devolving to the point where the final fight was a street brawl. Is that really what people want to see of the Cubs’ 2015 season?

Besides, such a scenario would remind me of the 2001 World Series – when the New York Yankees won games three, four and five at home after losing the first two games on the road. Except that the Arizona Diamondbacks rebounded by winning the final two games when they returned home. So the Cubs would still lose. “Let’s go, Mets?”

OOPS!: It seems there’s a Humboldt Park man who is trying to get out of the gang lifestyle. But a souvenir, so to speak, of those days wound up resulting in the death of his three-year-old son.

The Chicago Tribune reported that bond was set at $75,000 Sunday for Michael Santiago, whose six-year-old son used Santiago’s pistol to shoot and kill his other son – age 3.

Santiago told police he kept the pistol for self-protection from his former gang allies, and that his son saw the pistol atop the refrigerator Saturday night and fired it at the younger brother.

That resulted in the child endangerment charge being filed against the father – for keeping a loaded firearm in the home. Although it seems the grandfather says the surviving boy isn’t even aware of what he did, he thinks his brother is sick in the hospital.